24 Heures Du Mans 2010 – Post Race Wrap.

Bourdais leads Peugeot's assault into turn one. - Image courtesy of Geoffroy Barre / leblogauto.com

Bourdais leads Peugeot's assault into turn one. - Image courtesy of Geoffroy Barre / leblogauto.com

A brutal display of style, glamour, and speed, the Le Mans 24 Hour manages to provide an atmospheric roller coaster ride of raw emotion unable to be matched by any other event the world over on a yearly basis.

This year’s edition of the event bore a special significance for many reasons. For both fans and competitors, 2010 would provide the swan song for a once titanic GT category now left stagnant as a result of lacking manufacturer interest. For GT1 class competitors it’s the end of an era. After providing a worthy stomping ground for a selection of the world’s greatest supercars for the better part of the last decade, the GT1 category will see its last year of competition at the 24 Hour.

LMP categories would also see the final running of current-spec machinery before a major regulations change is enforced for the 2011 season. Although fraught with attrition, the 2010 running of the 24 hour classic delivered one of the more bizarre, yet mesmerising renditions of the race in recent years.

Hour one of the event saw the use of several, extended caution periods resulting in multiple safety car deployments. The first of which would be caused by the retirement of both Autocon and Beechdean Mansell entries. Several laps later the premature (yet highly anticipated) return of Jaguar (in the form of US-based, JaguarRSR) would succumb to a similar fate as a result of electrical difficulties. An innocent casualty of the events, Joest would lose over 60sec to the overall leading Peugeots. The disparity due to a difference in running pace between two of the circuit’s safety cars.

Peugeot #2 of Sarrazin/Minassian/Montagny. - Image courtesy Geoffroy Barre / endurance-magazine.fr

Peugeot #2 of Sarrazin/Minassian/Montagny. - Image courtesy Geoffroy Barre / endurance-magazine.fr

Having set the benchmark for single-lap pace, Peugeot had stamped its dominance early in both practice and qualifying sessions. The reigning LMP1 champions would commence from positions one through four, tailed by the trio of Audi entries, and the petrol-engined LMP field (lead of course by AMR). Despite possessing an obvious performance advantage during the first half of the race, the Peugeot squad would again be haunted by reliability issues.

Drama would strike late in the third hour for the #3 Peugeot of Bourdais, Pagenaud, and Lamy. Having been swiftly summoned to pitlane, the French squad would set to work furiously, with idle team members and spare bodywork to maintain any means of disguising the nature of repair efforts taking place. The pole-setting chassis was officially retired as a result of a front suspension failure.

Peugeot maintained a 1-2-3 formation at the front of the field and, with three factory Audis now only a small margin behind, the goose chase for the overall lead was well underway. Frustration would set in over the next several hours for both Peugeot and Audi squads. Peugeot #1 would be forced to pitlane courtesy of a failed alternator late during the seventh hour. With maintenance costing the French team over 12 minutes, ultimately taking the reigning champions out of contention for victory.

Peugeot would continue to hold positions 1-2, Audi remaining in close pursuit with cars #9/8 only a small margin behind. All the while AMR cars continued to turn consistent laps without error in positions 7/8 to maintaining their lead over fellow petrol-powered LMP1 counterparts. By mid race distance it was the Oreca Peugeot to suffer issues.

The Peugeot #2 squad completes one of the more successful pit stops of the day. - Image courtesy Geoffroy Barre / endurance-magazine.fr

The Peugeot #2 squad completes one of the more successful pit stops of the day. - Image courtesy Geoffroy Barre / endurance-magazine.fr

The team’s #4 entry being forced to pitlane, leaking oil as a result of engine faults. The #4 later returned to the race, losing thirteen minutes as a result of the repairs. Only some four hours later, the race leading #2 Peugeot would suffer a dramatic engine blowout on the approach to Tertre Rouge, resulting in a second factory Peugeot retirement.

This occurrence would prove to be a turning point for the Audi squad, inheriting the lead as a result of the #2 Peugeot’s retirement. With cars #9/8 now running in positions 1/2 respectively, the Joest cars would begin to increase pace as Peugeot opted for an all or nothing approach to victory. Despite being over a lap down on the leaders, the #1 car (at at the time driven by Davidson) had been instructed to take necessary action in order to ensure Peugeot victory (even at the cost of lower class participant’s safety).

Peugeot’s problems would only worsen throughout the remaining hours. While managing to reduce the margin to the leading Audi to under a lap, the sole factory #1 Peugeot would ultimately suffer a similar fate as its sister cars. Retiring in the dying hours of the race as a result of an engine blowout (now thought to have been caused by a faulty turbo).

With all factory cars now out of the running, the responsibility of flying the French marque’s flag would be left to the Oreca squad, and the hands of talented rookie, Loic Duval. Had Duval’s pace been maintained a podium position would have been possible for the local team. Unfortunately for the Oreca team the #4 would suffer a similar fate to it’s factory cousins. The car failing midway through the 22nd hour of the race, taking with it any chance of a face saving finish for the French manufacturer.

The race winning #9 Audi of Rockenfeller/Dumas/Bernhard. - Image courtesy Geoffroy Barre / endurance-magazine.fr

The race winning #9 Audi of Rockenfeller/Dumas/Bernhard. - Image courtesy Geoffroy Barre / endurance-magazine.fr

Having not been able to compete with the single-pace set by their Peugeot rivals, the goal of would be to endure the imminent storm. Normally the fastest entry in the Joest camp, the #7 squad had suffered setup difficulties throughout practice and qualifying sessions, placing the car slightly off the pace of its #8/#9 sister cars.

The #7 would later suffer a delay early in the race as a result of a damaged BMW straying across the Porsche curves. Although not suffering any major damage, the #7 would be pitted for preventative maintenance. This unfortunate turn of events would shift the balance of power to the #9/8 Joest entries. Both of which would now be tasked with maintaining the chase for victory. The #9 crew had maintained consistent pace through the event, focusing on sustainable speed. The distinguished trio of Rockenfeller/Bernhard/Dumas would lead home cars #8/7 to secure an Audi 1-2-3 finish.

#42 ARX01c of Strakka racing. - Image courtesy Geoffroy Barre / endurance-magazine.fr

#42 ARX01c of Strakka racing. - Image courtesy Geoffroy Barre / endurance-magazine.fr

Setting a pace bordering on cruelty, LMP2 had promised to be an HPD dominated affair from the outset.

With HPD-powered entries qualifying 1-2-3, and managing average lap times over four seconds faster than the nearest class competitors, P2 regulars were in for a tough day at the office. Having beaten race favourites Highcroft to the class pole, Strakka had immediately stamped their position as the team to beat.

Having lead the race for 356 laps (to Highcrofts 11 laps-lead) the Strakka trio of Danny Watts/Jonny Kane/Nick Leventis would finish first in category, placing an excellent fifth overall (only laps behind first-home petrol LMP1 team Oreca) to take their maiden 24 hour victory and, in doing so, handing the ARX01c a victory on its LM24 debut. In addition to this, the teams HPD package also won Michelin’s GreenX challenge.

Highcroft's Marco Werner navigates the Ralentisseur chicane. - Image courtesy Geoffroy Barre / endurance-magazine.fr

Highcroft's Marco Werner navigates the Ralentisseur chicane. - Image courtesy Geoffroy Barre / endurance-magazine.fr

Overshadowed by a myriad of technical difficulties, from shrapnel induced tyre punctures, to oil leaks and water pressure issues, the Danbury, Connecticut-based squad managed a semi-successful 24 Hour debut. Despite the presence of reigning champion David Brabham, multiple Le Mans overall winner Marco Werner, and up and coming endurance star Marino Franchitti, the Highcroft team were unable to match the speed and reliability of their Trans-Atlantic cousins. Plagued by misfortunes throughout the event, Highcroft would minimise the gap to their Strakka counterparts to less than two laps on several occasions. A margin which would unfortunately never be regained

OAK racing, and RML would round off the LMP2 podium finishing second and third respectively. In the unexpected absence of the Highcroft team, RML’s position would secure HPD’s second debut podium finish.

YoungDriver AMR leads the GT1 field through the Dunlop Esses. - Image courtesy of Geoffroy Barre / leblogauto.com

YoungDriver AMR leads the GT1 field through the Dunlop Esses. - Image courtesy of Geoffroy Barre / leblogauto.com

Contesting their final year of Le Mans competition, the GT1 swansong was, at times trying and, although well and truly outclassed by their GT2 counterparts the once mighty supercar category managed to produce a fitting outcome.

Dominated in its early stages by Matech and MarcVDS entries (both teams suffering race ending mechanical failures during the first half of the race) the ailing eight car category (consisting of six GT1WC entries) saw the lead shared by no less than six different entries throughout duration the race.

Despite the obvious pace of the Ford, Corvette, and Aston Martin entries, reliability would once again prove to be a deciding factor. Although not the fastest car in its category (or the category below it), Le Mans veterans and fan favourites Larbre Competition would finish the race with minimal error to take first in class, in a fitting tribute to both the category and machinery.

#82 Risi entry enters the Mulsanne. - Image courtesy Geoffroy Barre / endurance-magazine.fr

#82 Risi entry enters the Mulsanne. - Image courtesy Geoffroy Barre / endurance-magazine.fr

Widely proclaimed as the new manufacturer stomping ground, and with seven marques present the GT2 category was set for a cracking battle. In typical Le Mans fashion, the Risi squad managed the surge to an early lead in the opening hours (despite having been relegated to the rear of the starting grid).

The team would go on to endure an intense battle with the P&M squad throughout hours six/seven. In an unfortunate twist, Risi would later suffer tranmission issues, forcing the #82 to pitlane for lengthy repairs, ruling them out of the chase for victory.

#63 Corvette of O'Connell/Magnussen/Garcia. - Image courtesy of Geoffroy Barre / leblogauto.com

#63 Corvette of O'Connell/Magnussen/Garcia. - Image courtesy of Geoffroy Barre / leblogauto.com

The #82 would later go on to retire as a result of the persisting difficulties. Leaving the P&M Corvette squad to dominate the category for what seemed like the majority of the event.

Running in 1/2 tandem for several hours, everything seemed to be going right for the American outfit. During a two hour period, disaster struck for the P&M team. The departure of the #63 P&M entry as a result of engine issues would leave the #64 to fly the remaining Corvette flag.

In a controversial incident, an impatient Anthony Davidson would attempt to pass the #64 Corvette entry of endurance veteran Emmanuelle Collard through the tight Porsche curves while on a late race charge for victory. This would cause Collard to lose control of the Corvette, sending the car spinning into nearby barriers. Suffering massive rear damage as a result of the impact, Collard would be forced to limp the severely damaged #64 back to pitlane where the team would furiously attempt a repair operation.

Davidson later commented on the incident in a bid to plead his innocence, only managing to insinuate Collard (amongst other GT competitors) had made intentional efforts to cause difficulty for the (then chasing) PeugeotSport team. Davidson retracted the statement/s in a later interview.

While the #64 did manage to return to the field, it would later retire as a result of engine issues similar to those suffered by the #63 car, leaving the justifiably distraught American team without any result.

A victim of late regulation changes, the #79 BMW Motorsport entry during the early hours of the race. - Image courtesy Geoffroy Barre / endurance-magazine.fr

A victim of late regulation changes, the #79 BMW Motorsport entry during the early hours of the race. - Image courtesy Geoffroy Barre / endurance-magazine.fr

A contender in its class, a fan favourite, and like many others, an unfortunate casualty. BMW’s return to La Sarthe was not as triumphant as many had originally hoped.

Having been hit with an increase in restrictor size (resulting in the loss of 10-15hp) upon arrival to La Sarthe, the manufacturer’s bid for victory would suffer a major setback from the outset. While down on single-lap pace, the aim of the Schnitzer squad was no doubt to endure the storm of inevitable attrition. A strategy adopted by the team during both Le Mans Series rounds.

Unfortunately for the Bavarians, sparks of promise were shown but reliable performance was not forthcoming. Suffering multiple tyre punctures (amongst other difficulties), the #79 would return to pitlane on several occasions during the opening hours of the race. The entry being officially retired after the eighth hour. The remaining #78 entry of Müller/Alzen/Farfus also experienced its fair share of difficulties but, despite tyre and engine difficulties would go on to finish sixth in category.

Felbermayr-Proton's class winning #77 entry of Lieb/Lietz/Henzler. - Image courtesy Geoffroy Barre / endurance-magazine.fr

Felbermayr-Proton's class winning #77 entry of Lieb/Lietz/Henzler. - Image courtesy Geoffroy Barre / endurance-magazine.fr

Maintaining a sustainable pace throughout the race and opting to focus on reliability, the #77 Felbermayr squad would inherit the class lead shortly after the late race departure of Corvette #64. Having run a flawless race to edge out Risi,P&M, and BMW entries, the #77 crew found themselves with a two lap lead over nearest placed rivals, Hankook Farnbacher #89, and BMS Scuderia Italia #97 with several hours still remaining.

The trio of Lieb/Lietz/Henzler would continue to lead for the remaining hours to finish a phenomenal eleventh overall, taking Felbermayr’s maiden 24 Hour victory and, after years of Ferrari domination, reclaiming the LM24 GT2 crown for Porsche. A fitting triumph for Le Mans most successful marque.

With the curtains now drawn and the race now run and won for another year, the Sportscar world sits back to ponder…only another 12 months until the madness begins all over again.

Images courtesy Geoffroy Barre // Endurance-Magazine.fr // leblogauto.com

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LMS: Spa 1000km Entry list released.

LMS_Tag_TabThe entry list for round two of the LMS 2010 season, the 1000km of Spa has been released, unveiling some noteworthy surprises.

Notable mentions go to the appearance of additional entries from both Schnitzer BMW Motorsports (#79), and ProSpeed (#98), including the appearance of a GT1 class yielding a seven car field (as opposed to the single entry seen at Paul Ricard). It is also important to highlight that Formula Le Mans class runners have once again been lumped in with the LMP2 field.

The total car count for the event stands at fifty-two.

The full entry listing can be seen below:

LMP1:

  • 008 – Signature Plus – France – Lola Aston Martin – Pierre Ragues/Franck Mailleux/Vanina Ickx
  • 1 – Team Peugeot Total – France – Peugeot 908 HDi-FAP – Marc Gené/Alexander Wurz/Anthony Davidson
  • 2 – Team Peugeot Total – France – Peugeot 908 HDi-FAP – Franck Montagny/Stéphane Sarrazin/Nicolas Minassian
  • 3 – Team Peugeot Total – France – Peugeot 908 HDi-FAP – Pedro Lamy/Sébastien Bourdais/Simon Pagenaud
  • 9 – Audi Sport North America – France – Audi R15 TDI Timo Bernhard/Romain Dumas/Mike Rockenfeller
  • 4 – Team Oreca Matmut – France – Peugeot 908 HDi FAP – Oliver Panis/Nicolas Lapierre/Loïc Duval
  • 5 – Beechdean Mansell – United Kingdom – Ginetta-Zytek 09S – Nigel Mansell/Leo Mansell/Greg Mansell
  • 7 – Audi Sport Team Joest – Germany – Audi R15 TDI – Dindo Capello/Tom Kristensen/Allan McNish
  • 8 – Audi Sport Team Joest – Germany – Audi R15 TDI – Marcel Fassler/Andre Lotterer/Benoît Treluyer
  • 12 – Rebellion Racing – Switzerland – Lola B10/60 Coupé – Rebellion Nicolas Prost/Neel Jani
  • 13 – Rebellion Racing – Switzerland – Lola B10/60 Coupé – Rebellion Andrea Belicchi/Jean-Christophe Boullion

LMP2:

  • 24 – Oak Racing – France – Pescarolo – Judd Mathieu Lahaye/Jacques Nicolet
  • 25 – RML – United Kingdom – Lola HPD Coupé – Tommy Erdos/Mike Newton/Andy Wallace
  • 27 – Race Performance – Switzerland – Radical SR9 – Judd – Michel Frey/Ralph Meichtry/Tyler Dueck
  • 29 – Racing Box – Italy – Lola B09 Coupé – Judd – Marco Cioci/Piergiuseppe Perazzini/Luca Pirri
  • 30 – Racing Box – Italy – Lola B09 Coupé – Judd Ferdinando Geri/Andrea Piccini/Giacomo Piccini
  • 35 – Oak Racing – France – Pescarolo – Judd – Richard Hein/Guillaume Moreau
  • 36 – Pegasus Racing – France – Courage-Oreca LC75 – AER – Julien Schell/Jean-Christophe Metz/Frederic Da Rocha
  • 39 – KSM – Germany – Lola B08/47 – Judd – Jean De Pourtales/Hideki Noda/Jonathan Kennard
  • 40 – Quifel – ASM Team – Portugal – Ginetta-Zytek – 09S Miguel Amaral/Olivier Pla
  • 41 – Team Bruichladdich – United Kingdom – Ginetta-Zytek 09S – Karim Ojjeh/Tim Greaves/Thor-Christian Ebbesvik
  • 42 – Strakka Racing United – Kingdom HPD ARX – 01 Nick Leventis/Danny Watts/Jonny Kane
  • 43 – Dams – France – Formula Le Mans – Oreca 09 – Andrea Barlesi/Alessandro Cicognani/Gary Chalandon
  • 44 – Dams – France – Formula Le Mans – Oreca 09 – Dean Stirling/Luke Hines/Edoardo Piscopo
  • 45 – Boutsen Energy Racing – Belgium – Formula le Mans – Oreca 09 – Dominik Kraihamer/Nicolas De Crem/Bernard Delhez
  • 46 – JMB Racing – Monaco – Formula Le Mans – Oreca 09 – Peter Kutemann/Maurice BassoJohn/ Hartshorne
  • 47 – Hope Polevision Racing – Switzerland – Formula Le Mans – Steve Zacchia/Luca Moro/Wolfgang Kaufmann
  • 48 – Hope Polevision Racing – Switzerland – Formula Le Mans – Mathias Beche/Christophe Pillon/Vincent Capillaire
  • 49 – Applewood Seven – France – Formula Le Mans – Oreca 09 – Damien Toulemonde/David Zollinger/Ross Zampatti

GT1:

  • 50 – Larbre Competition – France – Saleen S7-R – Gabriele Gardel/Patrice Goueslard/Fernando Rees
  • 52 – Young Driver AMR – Germany – Aston Martin – DBR9 Tomas Enge/Christoffer Nygaard/Peter Kox
  • 60 – Matech Competition – Switzerland – Ford GT – Thomas Mutsch/Yan Zimmer
  • 61 – Matech Competition – Switzerland – Ford GT – Cindy Allemann/Rahel Frey
  • 66 – Atlas FX-Team Full Speed – Austria – Saleen S7-R – Julien Schroyen/Carlo Van Dam/Stéphane Lemeret
  • 70 – Marc VDS Racing Team – Belgium – Ford GT – Bas Leinders/Markus Palttala/Eric De Donker
  • 72 – Luc Alphand Aventures – France – Corvette C6.R – Julien Jousse/Stephan Gregoire

GT2:

  • 75 – Prospeed Competition – Belgium – Porsche 997 GT3 RSR – Marco Holzer/Richard Westbrook
  • 76 – IMSA Performance Matmut – France – Porsche 997 GT3 RSR – Raymond Narac/Patrick Pilet
  • 77 – Team Felbermayr Proton – Germany – Porsche 997 GT3 RSR – Marc Lieb/Richard Lietz
  • 78 – BMW Team Schnitzer – Germany – BMW M3 – Jörg Müller Dirk Werner
  • 79 – BMW Team Schnitzer – Germany BMW M3 – Andy Priaulx/Dirk Müller
  • 85 – Spyker Squadron – Netherlands – Spyker C8 Laviolette GT2-R – Peter Dumbreck/Tom Coronel
  • 88 – Team Felbermayr Proton – Germany – Porsche 997 GT3 RSR – Martin Ragginger/Christian Ried
  • 89  – Hankook Team Farnbacher – Germany – Ferrari F430 GT – Dominik Farnbacher /Allan Simonsen
  • 90 – CRS Racing – United Kingdom – Ferrari F430 GT – Pierre Ehret/Phil Quaife/Pierre Kaffer
  • 91 – CRS Racing – United Kingdom – Ferrari F430 GT – Andrew Kirkaldy/Tim Mullen
  • 92 – JMW Motorsport – United Kingdom – Aston Martin V8 Vantage – Robert Bell/Darren Turner
  • 93 – JWA Racing – United Kingdom – Porsche 997 GT3 RSR – Paul Daniels/Oskar Slingerland
  • 94 – AF Corse – Italy – Ferrari F430 GT – Luis Perez/CompancMatias Russo
  • 95 – AF Corse – Italy – Ferrari F430 GT – Giancarlo Fisichella/Toni Vilander/Jean Alesi
  • 96 – AF Corse – Italy – Ferrari F430 GT – Gianmaria Bruni/Jaime Melo
  • 98 – Prospeed – Competition – Belgium – Porsche 997 GT3 RSR – Paul Von Splunteren/Niek Hommerson/Louis Machiels

LMS: Post Paul Ricard Race wrap.

LMS_Tag_Tab

 

 

 

The Le Mans Series 2011 season began in superb style this weekend at Paul Ricard HTTT for the inaugural running of the 8 hours of Le Castellet.

The first event of the season played host to a field of high calibre entrants, some seasoned veterans, others trying their hand at endurance for the first time.  All in all results were somewhat varied. LMP2 and GT2 categories played host to many intense battles and, to the surprise of many, the production of exhilarating racing at Paul Ricard ensued.

Le Castellet_first lap battle.

Joest, Oreca, and AMR entries engage in heated exchange on lap one. - Image Courtesy EnduranceMag / GeoffreyBarre.

The opening minutes of the race saw a flurry of movement in prototype and GT classes. As drama struck early in LMP1, class favourites Audi and Peugeot inflicted minor contact upon one another while navigating chicanes on lap one. This allowing the #009 Lola-AMR of Stefan Mücke to assume the race lead (if only briefly), before the the diesels continued their charge.

In the later stages of hour one, the #4 Oreca-entered Peugeot’s chances of victory suffered a diminishign blow. As Sarrazin was forced to pitlane as a result of mechanical issues with the car’s airjack mounting system – noticed by crew members during the team’s first pit stop. This failure would prove costly, costing the #4 approximately twenty minutes on repairs, ultimately leading to a seven lap loss on class rivals, Joest. Benefiting from the late race misfortunes of the team’s #6 Oreca01 sister car, the #4 would go on to secure fourth overall.

Audi's R15+ turns competitive laps for the first time, during the 8H Le Castellet - Image Courtesy EnduranceMag.fr / GeoffreyBarre.

Unhindered after trading paint with the Oreca Peugeot, the #7 Audi (with McNish then at the wheel) would go on to obtain first place from the AMR-Lola. The Scot continued to lap flawlessly in the R15+, maintaining a constant pace of 1:43-1:45s per lap before ceding driving duties to teammate, Capello.

Inheriting the car mid-way through hour two of the event, the Italian continued in much the same fashion as McNish. Demonstrating the virtues of consistent lapping and tyre/fuel conservation afforded by Audi’s modified R15+ chassis. The #7 would complete the remaining six hours of the race with minimal difficulty to secure first overall, covering a distance 1540km, and taking double championship points.

As a direct result of Oreca’s mechanical dramas, the #009 Lola-AMR inherited second place in the latter stages of the opening hour, maintaining the position for the entire race. Exempting a late race tyre-lockup, the #009 crew of Mücke, Fernandez and Primat would round out an almost faultless showing, taking a well-deserved second place overall, and first of the petrol LMP1 finishers.

Rebellion #13

Rebelllion's #13 Lola-Judd.- Image Courtesy EnduranceMag.fr / GeoffreyBarre.

After experiencing early-race suspension difficulties with the team’s #12 car, Rebellion managed to turn the tables with their remaining #13 Lola-Judd. Having been gifted further position in the opening hour of the race (a result of the Oreca Peugeot’s misfortune), the #13 crew of Smith, Boullion, and Belicchi would maintain pace with AMR’s #009 Lola-AMR squad for several hours – even looking likely to challenge the AMR squad for second overall in at certain periods of the race. Rebellion’s remaining chassis would ultimately go on to maintain third position to achieve a podium for the squad.

Strakka's #42 ARX01c LMP2 challenger - Image Courtesy EnduranceMag.fr / GeoffreyBarre.

Having set the pace during qualifying, Strakka racing surged to an early lead in the LMP2 class, reaffirming the solidity of Acura’s ARX01c package. Reigning champions Quifel-ASM slotted into second, followed by OAK.

Opting to maintain a steady pace in favour of single-lap speed, both cars would visibly struggle to maintain pace with Strakka. Despite this, the #42 would later suffer issues in pitlane, placing the Strakka squad five laps down on class leaders Quifel-ASM, who would inherit the lead, followed by OAK Racing’s pair of Pescarolos.

In what was (with little doubt) one of the drives of the race, Strakka’s trio of Watts, Kane and Leventis, mounted a dramatic comeback charge. Managing to thread their way through slower GT and prototype traffic (often maintaining a pace comparable with P1 entries), Strakka would regain a five lap margin on class leaders Quifel-ASM, taking victory in spectacular fashion.

Felbermayr 1-2.

Felbermayr's pair of #77/88 entries running in 1-2 tandem - Image Courtesy EnduranceMag.fr / GeoffreyBarre.

Having endured arguably one of the series tightest qualifying sessions in recent history (  positions 1-11 separated by 1.7sec) the GT2 battle looked promising from the outset. Jostling for position commenced early, and in a heated manner with heavy movement at both ends of the category.

Pole setter, Bruni commenced the race for AF-Corse by drawing a considerable margin over nearest rivals. Felbermayr’s #77 of Lietz moved from second to seventh from the start in mere seconds. The #96 AF-Corse entry would eventually suffer race-ending engine difficulties during the fifth hour. One of the many Ferrari casualties throughout the day.

Although slightly down the order, the #77 would continue to set the pace in GT2, snaring the lead prior to the downfall of the #96, a position the duo of Lietz/Lieb would maintain for the remainder of the event. The #88 sister car of Ragginger/Long/Ried would finish in second place, after avoiding drama to gradually work its way through the field and ensure a Felbermayr 1-2 finish.

BMW M3_8H Le Castellet

BMW M3 E92 of Jörg Müller/Dirk Werner - Image Courtesy EnduranceMag/GeoffreyBarre.

 

One of the highlights of the GT2 class was the #78 M3 E92 Schnitzer/BMW Motorsports entry. The Charley Lamm led squad opted for a fuel-efficient strategy,deciding against outright pace in the hope of offsetting their rivals pitstops during the final hours.

Drivers Werner/Müller managed to bring the car to third place in the GT2 field during the first half the race before suffering a radiator leak, forcing the team into damage control mode, and losing several laps to the class leader. Werner/Müller would go on to finish sixth in class.

Classified as part of the LMP2 category (thus appearing at the deep end), the Formula Le Mans class spent much of the race in the shadow of faster P1/P2 counterparts. A great mistake on the ACO’s part, given that the class provided exciting racing throughout the course of the day.

The Hope Pole Vision, DAMS, and AppleWood Seven teams battled furiously throughout the eight hour event, with victory eventually going to to the Gulf-liveried AppleWood seven entry.

While the inaugural running of the event didn’t quite deliver the LMP1 mega battle fans may have been hoping for, the LMP2, GT2, and FLM classes provided some great racing for viewers (although the majority of the race wasn’t ‘viewed’ persay – courtesy of our good friends at EuroSport). If Paul Ricard is but a taste of what is yet to come in 2010, LMS is due for what looks to be one of the most action packed seasons in recent years.

WR-Salini announces Diesel powered 2011 programme.

WR-Zytek Pitlane Exit.

Welter Racing's modified Zytek LMP2 chassis.

 

Welter Racing Salini today revealed its ambitious business plans for the 2011 season. Well known for their exploits with a modified Zytek LMP2 chassis, the privateer operation has announced plans to internally design, and develop the first customer diesel LMP1 powerplant.

In addition, WR-Salini also intends to provide the engines to interested privateers, becoming the first non-factory engine manufacturer to develop and sell internally-built diesel engines. Reportedly a Bi-turbo, V8 design, the powerplant will consist of 80% Peugeot manufactured components.

Longbeach entry list released.

ALMS LogoALMS organisers have released the provisional entry list for round two of the ALMS season in Longbeach, California. The street circuit will play host to a field of 35 cars, the largest grid seen at the event in over fifteen years, and will be the first race run under new LMP equalisation regulations proposed by IMSA during the winter.

Both LMP1/LMP2 will be merged into a single class, simply named ‘LMP’.  Series organisers and fans alike are hoping this will restore some of the action seen in recent years when similar equalisation methods were sought out.

A surprise inclusion is the appearance of Johnny Mowlem in the #52, PR1 Motorsports entry.  With ‘Corsa Car’ appearing as a sponsor/providing support for the car. What this means for the future of the Corsa Motorsports, Zytek-Hybrid program remains uncertain.

The full listing can be seen below:

LMP

  • 1 Patrón Highcroft Racing – HPD ARX-01c – David Brabham / Simon Pagenaud
  • 6 Muscle Milk Team Cytosport – Porsche RS Spyder – Greg Pickett / Klaus Graf
  • 8 Drayson Racing – Lola B09 60-Judd – Paul Drayson / Jonny Cocker
  • 12 Autocon Motorsports – Lola B06 10-AER – Tomy Drissi / Ken Davis / Michael Lewis
  • 16 Dyson Racing Team – Lola B09 86-Mazda – Chris Dyson / Guy Smith
  • 37 Intersport Racing – Lola-B06 10-AER – Jon Field / Clint Field
  • 007 Aston Martin Racing – LolaB09/60-AMR – Adrian Fernandez / Harold Primat

GT

  • 3 Corvette Racing Compuware – Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 – Jan Magnussen / Johnny O’Connell
  • 4 Corvette Racing Compuware – Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 – Olivier Beretta / Oliver Gavin
  • 17 Team Falken Tire – Porsche 911 GT3 RSR – Bryan Sellers / Wolf Henzler
  • 40 Robertson Racing – Doran Design Ford GT – David Robertson / Andrea Robertson / David Murry
  • 44 Flying Lizard Motorsports – Porsche 911 GT3 RSR – Darren Law / Seth Neiman
  • 45 Flying Lizard Motorsports – Porsche 911 GT3 RSR – Joerg Bergmeister / Patrick Long
  • 62 Risi Competizione – Ferrari 430 GT – Jaime Melo / Gianmaria Bruni
  • 75 Jaguar RSR Jaguar – Jaguar XKR – Paul Gentilozzi / Ryan Dalziel
  • 90 BMW Rahal Letterman – BMW E92 M3Dirk Müller / Joey Hand
  • 92 BMW Rahal Letterman – BMW E92 M3 –  Bill Auberlen / Tommy Milner
  • 01 Extreme SpeedMotorsports – Ferrari 430 GT – Scott Sharp / Johannes van Overbeek
  • 02 Extreme SpeedMotorsports – Ferrari 430 GT -Ed Brown / Guy Cosmo

LMPC

  • 11 Primetime-Braille Battery – Oreca FLM09 – Joel Feinberg / Kyle Marcelli
  • 36 Genoa Racing Genoa Racing – Oreca FLM09 – Tom Sutherland / TBD
  • 52 PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports – Oreca FLM09 – Johnny Mowlem / Tom Papadopoulos
  • 55 Level 5 Motorsports – Oreca FLM09 – TBD / TBD
  • 89 Intersport Racing – Oreca FLM09 – Mitch Pagerey / Brian Wong
  • 95 Level 5 Motorsports – Oreca FLM09 – TBD / TBD
  • 99 Green Earth Team Gunnar – Oreca FLM09 – Gunnar Jeannette / Elton Julian

GTC

  • 23 Alex Job Racing – Porsche 911 GT3 Cup – Bill Sweedler / Romeo Kapudija
  • 28 911 Design Porsche Racing – Porsche 911 GT3 Cup – Loren Beggs / Doug Baron
  • 32 GMG Racing – Porsche 911 GT3 Cup – Bret Curtis / James Sofronas
  • 54 Black Swan Racing – Porsche 911 GT3 Cup – Timothy Pappas / Jeroen Bleekemolen
  • 63 TRG Future Electronics – Porsche 911 GT3 Cup – Henri Richard / Mark Thomas
  • 69 WERKS II Racing – Porsche 911 GT3 Cup – Robert Rodriquez / Galen Bieker
  • 80 Alex Job Racing – Porsche 911 GT3 Cup – Ricardo Gonzalez / Luis Diaz
  • 81 Alex Job Racing – Porsche 911 GT3 Cup – Juan Gonzalez /Butch Leitzinger
  • 88 Velox Motorsports – Porsche 911 GT3 Cup – Shane Lewis / Jerry Vento